GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 261-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


HENDY, Austin J.W.1, ESTES-SMARGIASSI, Kathryn1, WALKER, Lindsay J.1 and HAMDAN, Kamal2, (1)Invertebrate Paleontology, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007, (2)Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISE), California State University, Dominguez Hills, 1000 E Victoria St., Carson, CA 90747,

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is uniquely situated to extend its mission of discovery and stewardship of natural history to a diversity of academic institutions in the Los Angeles area. The Invertebrate Paleontology collection (LACMIP) has created partnerships with a number of local area universities and community colleges, most notably California State University-Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). The majority of these are minority-serving institutions with limited opportunities for student involvement with natural history collections. We have created opportunities for collection-based field trips, lab exercises, capstone research projects, and outreach collaborations. Our credit-awarding internships through which students participate in all aspects of the digitization workflow, museum science, biodiversity research, and outreach have been particularly effective in helping to achieve grant-related deliverables.

Our most successful partnership has been with the California STEM Institute for Innovation & Improvement at CSUDH. This program provides teachers with an educational experience geared towards training the next generation of learners and addressing shortages of STEM teachers in high-need schools. Three cohorts of teachers from the Master Teacher Fellows (MTF) and STEM Teachers in Advanced Residency (STAR) programs have undertaken internships in our collections. Each cohort have worked on developing a specific NGSS aligned education product, combining the scientific expertise of the LACMIP staff with their own pedagogical training and practical experience. MTF teachers developed resources to encourage public participation in curation of fossils for Project Paleo: Marine Invertebrates of Southern California. STAR teachers have been developing Project Paleo: Cretaceous in the Classroom, through brainstorming with scientists to develop a unit plan. These internships give teachers authentic experiences in paleontology, making the discipline less abstract. Teachers are able to take these experiences back to their students and relate lessons to real world problems. Additionally, Project Paleo gives teachers the chance to bring geosciences education to Los Angeles United School District classrooms, introducing local paleontology to students at a very early age.